The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid remained elevated for a second straight week because Superstorm Sandy forced many people to seek temporary benefits.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that first-time applications for benefits fell by 41,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 410,000. That offset only part of the previous week’s surge.
Two weeks ago, the storm drove applications up by 90,000 to 451,000, an 18-month high.
Here are the states with the biggest increases and decreases in applications:
States with the biggest increases:
New York: Up 43,956, because Superstorm Sandy caused temporary layoffs in construction, restaurants and transportation
New Jersey: Up 31,094, because Sandy caused temporary layoffs in hotels, restaurants, manufacturing, transportation, health care and construction
California: Up 24,693, because of layoffs in the services industry
Pennsylvania: Up 7,037, because Sandy caused temporary layoffs in construction and transportation
Connecticut: Up 1,808, because of temporary layoffs from Sandy
Wisconsin: Up 1,674, no reason given
States with the biggest decreases:
Ohio: Down 4,996, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing
The Stock Market
Stocks hovered near break-even Wednesday on Wall Street ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down a fraction of a point at 1,387.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 25 points to 12,814. Three expensive Dow stocks -- IBM, United Technologies and Boeing -- each rose more than 65 cents. High-dollar stocks in the Dow carry more weight.
The Nasdaq composite index was up two points at 2,918.